Nearly a week after Moi University medical student Ivy Wangechi was felled by a rejected lover, the sheer brutality of the incident at a leading referral hospital continues to baffle.
Typically, Wangechi’s killing in cold blood has unleashed frenzied reactions in the social media. Commenting on some, or most, of those reactions only serves to dignify the despicable.
Suffice it to say that, as a nation, Kenya is fast losing an essential aspect of what it means to be human. Common decency demands that a society with any pretences to utu — essential humanity — respectfully steps aside to allow the bereaved family to mourn their loved one.
This was not accorded Wangechi’s family, who cruelly learnt about their immense loss through social media.
This raises the question: Where were the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) authorities when the notorious social media launched into what it does best — vilifying and mocking the dead?
Wangechi was murdered right inside the hospital precincts and, as a duly registered medical student, whose next of kin’s contacts should be readily available to the authorities, her parents should have been the first, outside MTRH management, to know about the tragedy that had befallen them.
Although Wangechi’s killing has reignited the gender debate, spotlighting the alarming rate at which young women, many of them students, are meeting premature deaths at male assailants’ hands, the lackadaisical manner in which authorities handle the issues deserves censure.
It’s tragic enough for a family to lose a child, any child, but it is traumatic for them to receive the tragic news through the faceless social media that has come to define a soulless society.
Learning institutions across the board should, therefore, put in place guidelines and fast-response procedures to mitigate the menacing character of social media.
That said, nobody deserves to die in the cruel way young women in Kenya are. In traditional African society, and in any civilised society for that matter, women’s lives, even in situations of war, were always spared — and with good cause.
Women are the custodians of life. They nurture life from the womb, breastfeed newborns and continue nurturing life through its entire span. The young women being killed with alarming frequency are daughters, sisters, mothers and granddaughters and, above all, custodians of life.
Most reasons advanced for the killings border on the puerile. The dead tell no tales and speculating on the circumstances surrounding their deaths only aggravates the gross injustice meted out on them and their grieving families.
The killings are akin to a race towards Kenya’s self-destruction and must be stopped.